Unconventional Career Path Takes Elliott to a Happy Place

by Rob Keys  on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 9:36 am  

Cassie Elliott broke into the real estate industry in 2005, and by 2008 had risen to the level of managing broker at Crye-Leike Realtors’ Bentonville office.

Elliott was recognized as part of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class in 2008, too, but soon would take what some might consider a backward career step. Spurred by a combination of factors, Elliott gave up her managing broker duties and lessened her involvement in the industry.

What might have been construed as an odd professional move, however, turned out to be one of the most rewarding things Elliott ever has done.

“It’s been quite a journey, but I have to say I’m probably happier than I’ve been in a long, long time,” she said.

These days, Elliott remains involved in real estate, as an executive broker at Crye-Leike’s Bentonville office. She splits her energies there between residential and commercial work, including a lot of what she calls “specialty properties” like The Applegate House, other historical homes and bed and breakfasts.

About 80 percent of Elliott’s professional time, though, is devoted to her own business, Visionary Milestones Inc. She founded VMI in 2004, after working as a consultant for about five years.

Elliott’s work at VMI is a continuation of the consulting. Primarily, that means a lot of “grants administration work,” she said.

She typically works with municipalities, funding agencies and engineering firms, and does a lot of projects with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The funding usually is related to things like easements and annexations, water and sewer lines, power stations, equipment acquisition or projects tied to job creation.

Elliott acts as a liaison between a county or city and the state and the corporation.

“I do all of the paperwork — the pay requests, the job tracking,” Elliott said. “If there’s construction involved, I make sure all the labor laws are followed.

“There’s nothing like going to a city and meeting with their city council and them saying, ‘We don’t know what we would’ve done without this grant money. This means so much to our city and the future of our city.’

“That kind of stuff means a ton. You can’t replace the feeling.”



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